Researchers from the University of Toronto (U of T) and The Hospital for Sick Children have identified a promising therapeutic target to help treat lung infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients.
“Individuals with cystic fibrosis have an impairment in their lungs where they have a hard time clearing out the mucus that accumulates within the lungs,” says Andreea Gheorghita, PhD candidate in the Department of Biochemistry at U of T.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a bacterium that causes opportunistic infections in individuals with weakened immune systems or other health concerns. For individuals with CF, repeated Pseudomonas infections often lead to long hospital stays and severe lung damage.
“Because of the impaired ability to clear mucus in the airways, these lung infections can become very persistent and prolonged, which eventually leads to lung tissue damage, loss of lung function, and eventually can cause patient mortality,” says Gheorghita.
Using the CMCF beamline at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan (USask), the team has been able to visualize the interaction between two important proteins that are key players in Pseudomonas’s ability to make biofilm. This sticky secretion allows the bacterium to attach to the lungs and makes it difficult for antibiotics and the patient’s immune system to fight the infection.
Read more on the Canadian Light Source website